Sunshine State authorities busted a massive child sex trafficking network — accused of exploiting a single teen — this week, ending a two-year probe that netted 178 arrests, including a high-profile booster for Florida State University, according to a report and police.
The operation, called “Stolen Innocence,” which began in November 2018, wrapped up on Tuesday — and those allegedly involved face charges ranging from solicitation of prostitution to human trafficking of a minor, the Tallahassee Police Department said in a press release.
It began when department investigators spotted images of a child posted on a website that advertises sex for money, authorities said. The girl was 13 and 14 when most of the alleged offenses occurred — but the abuse may have begun even before her 13th birthday, Elizabeth Bascom, one of the lead investigators, told The Tallahassee Democrat.
A total of 72 suspects were charged with misdemeanors and notices to appear, and 106 people were hit with felony charges — 18 of those being charged federally, according to authorities.
(Read more from “Nearly 200 Arrested in Sexual Exploitation of a Single Florida Teen” HERE)